by Rabbi Shai Gluskin
Baby at Five Minutes Old, Held by the Supportive, Gloved Hand of a Pediatric Nurse
Today is the 43rd day of the omer (May 20-21, 2001) which is chesed in malkhut:
Love on Earth
Malkhut is the gateway between that which is above and our life here on earth. Chesed is committed love.
A baby is the product of this world: the desire by a person or a couple for a child, the physical act of conception or insemination, the hugely complicated logistics of adoption, and the sexual act itself, are all testimony to how this-worldy becoming a parent is.
And yet, the fresh touch of the angel on the baby's upper lip* (see footnote below) reminds us of the baby's proximity to holiness. The parents' desire to love and teach this child overflow as they bear witness to a most precious gift, surely not of their own making.
On this day of chesed in malkhut, the new baby also serves as a metaphor for other aspects of our lives. What are the new ideas, projects, relationships, and improvements that seem like gifts but are also the product of our hard work and desire?
*There is a midrash that says that a child in the uterus is like the wisest sage, knowing all the Torah there ever was to know. But as the child is delivered into this world an angel comes and touches the upper lip (causing that dimple just under our nose) and the child forgets everything. It is then up to the child and the community to live a life dedicated toward relearning that wisdom.